bowling ball

At long last…bowling!

I LOVE bowling. Though I loathed it in high school, as I got older, I began to see more of the sport’s appeal. I also overcame my fear of looking like an idiot in front of people I don’t know and gave myself permission to be horrible at things and still enjoy them. Part of my love of bowling may also stem from the fact that it’s one of the things I did with my husband early on in our courtship. At the time, I had no overwhelming longing to bowl, but he came to visit my family for Thanksgiving and I can’t spend a whole weekend with my family. We had to get out of the house and there’s NOTHING to do in the town where I grew up…I had already taken him to the truck stop, so, that left bowling.

We were terrible, and still getting to know each other, and damn, we had fun. And now I love bowling. It’s so simple (especially with the automated scoring machines they have now) and a great way to catch up with friends. You can talk and bowl at the same time. Really. Especially if you don’t care about your score. That probably explains one of the reasons for its rise in popularity in the 1950s, when America moved to the suburbs after WWII. Another reason bowling alleys started popping up all over: the advent of the automatic pin-setter.   

Last Saturday night, Tim and I went bowling with some friends. Despite a crowded alley gearing up for Galactic bowling, we enjoyed ourselves. (Galactic bowling = teenagers in skinny jeans, loud Top 40 music, and funky lighting. I find these less than optimal conditions). When we got to the bowling alley, the lanes were dead, so we decided to pop into the attached bar and get something to eat first. Thanks to some sloth-like service, by the time we finished eating, we had to stand in line for half an hour to get a lane. Unusual. This gave us only an hour to bowl before they kicked us out and opened up to the Galactic masses.

We decided to roll anyway, because a little bowling is better than no bowling at all. Having a short window of bowling time turned out for the best. Because….we all stunk. Badly. Like squint at the scoreboard during the eighth frame and wonder if you’re going to break 100. Which should have been embarrassing, but really didn’t matter because we were all equally awful. And because it felt so darn good to bowl again.

bowling ball

My bowling ball, aka the Tootsie Pop.

Once upon a time, before my husband and I got married, we used to go bowling every Sunday morning as part of the Greater Boston Rock ‘n Roll Hangover League. Which isn’t really a league at all–it’s primarily an excuse for a bunch of musicians, recording artists and other social degenerates to get together and drink on Sundays. It ruled.

During that time, Tim and I actually invested in our own bowling balls and shoes. I have a lovely pair of vintage shoes that didn’t fit one of the other hangover leaguers. I bought Tim a bowling ball as a gift and got one for myself as well. Because no matter how awful we are, we’re less awful with balls drilled to fit right. No more nasty thumb-popping noises. No left-handed husband trying to jam his fingers into a right-handed bowling ball. No more getting irritated that I can’t find the right weight ball on any of the shelves at this god-forsaken place.
When people find out we have our own balls and shoes, they frequently say, “Oh! You must be good.”
Nope. Just comfortable. And in my case, a sucker for all things pearlescent red.
 Despite our poor scoring the other night, my companions and I all had a blast. We vowed to bowl more often. My husband and I may never get back to Hangover League performance levels, and that’s okay. I will never be ultra-competetive, but damn it, I’ll have fun.
When’s the last time you went bowling?


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